The journey of an unworthy son.
Yong doesn't want to leave Guangdong to travel to the goldfields of Ballarat. But as the firstborn son, he has no choice. On the long and treacherous journey, Yong strives to be an honourable son, while he and his father face many hardships and dangers. But in his heart he knows the shameful truth - that his honour is a lie. Can a journey change lives? Has Yong the courage to face what lies ahead?
This book makes real the 1850’s Gold Rush and Chinese immigration that followed.
Yong’s family live in a small town where food is scarce, so his father, who is the leader of the village, decides to seek fortune on the Australian Goldfields. Yong and a few other men from the village are also to go.
When the boat they are travelling in is shipwrecked in Robe in South Australia, they are faced with a trek of and then having to trek 500 kilometres, cross country on foot, to reach Ballarat.
They have to survive many hardships, but when the worst thing imaginable happens, Yong doesn’t even know if he can go on.
This is a great introduction to an important time in Australian history which looks at immigration and refugees, cultural change and exploitation. Hence, it becomes an ideal novel and also a discussion starter for senior primary classes.
Reviewed by Rob